June 29, 2009

A Rock Star of Neuroscience

I've been meaning to read the May 11 New Yorker article on V. S. Ramachandran and this weekend I finally had time to do so. It is a great read for those interested in "Rama" or in many of the hot topics in neuroscience for the last 15 or so years.

Rama really is a rock star of neuroscience, as Colapinto's article ably demonstrates. Ramachandran has developed a mechanism for people to overcome -- and even eradicate -- phantom limb pain; he has studied synesthesia, mirror neurons, and brain plasticity. The article provides examples of all of these areas of Rama's expertise, as well as several of his other endeavors (hiding habits of flounder, for instance).

Colapinto includes a charming interlude with Rama's wife of over 20 years (Diane Rogers-Ramachandran is a UNC grad!) which provides amusing insight into Rama's inability to find his car in a parking lot.

I've blogged about Ramachandran several times, including a vibrant TEDTalk, and if you are interested in his work, I recommend this article.

For More Information
  • Colapinto, John. Brain Games, the New Yorker. May 11, 2009.(registration required for the full article, or read the article in EBSCO's Academic Search Premier database for free if your institution is a subscriber)
  • Colapinto, John. Ramachandran’s Mirror Trick, blog post at the New Yorker. May 6, 2009. Includes a written description of Ramachandran's ingenious solution to phantom limb pain, the mirror trick, along with a photo of how the mirror should be positioned for the trick to work.

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